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Last month 566 parent/carers and young people accessed our service which led to a total of 2,981 emails, contact forms, telephone calls and face to face meetings. Contact us if you need our advice and support.  

Does my child need a diagnosis to get an EHCP?

A diagnosis is not required to secure an EHC plan. It is about the identified needs and whether these can only be met with an EHC plan. Some children and young people with an EHC plan will have a diagnosis and some won’t.

Health colleagues are required to provide advice during an EHC needs assessment within six weeks of a request. As the timescale is set in law, you may find that the advice provided (about health needs and provision) may not include a confirmed diagnosis – as this can sometimes take longer to determine. There will be further opportunities to update the EHC plan with new information.

The legal threshold around agreeing to carry out an EHC needs assessment (the first step) is relatively low. Section 36 (8) of The Children and Families Act 2014 says that a local authority must consider;

whether the child or young person has or may have special educations needs and whether it may be necessary for special educational provision to be made for the child or young person in accordance with an EHC plan.

Take a look at our information on When a local authority should carry out an Education, Health & Care Needs Assessment for further information.

Should hours of support be specified on an EHC Plan?

Under the new system there will be an emphasis on ‘outcomes’ i.e. what your child wants to be able to do or achieve, so the level of support needed will be tailored to helping them making progress towards the outcomes. 

 It supports a move away from providing a set number of hours of support and instead focuses on the individual needs of the child or young person. 

 When a child or young Person’s EHCP is agreed there will be a commitment to providing a banding and an appropriate school setting.  The aim of banding descriptors is to provide consistent, equal and transparent funding to schools. 

The revised banding is a ‘pupil need led’ model which means that funding is based on the level of need.

 

The school is not following provision specified in the EHC Plan, what can I do?

An EHCP is a legal document and therefore schools are required to deliver the provision set out in Sections F of the EHCP. However, if school feels it does not have the necessary resources to carry out this duty it should raise this with the Local Authority who has overall responsibility for the EHCP.

 In law, the LA must “secure the special educational provision” specified in Section F of an EHC plan. This can never be delegated to a school/college if they do not have the resources – money or expertise – to do this.

 You can raise your concerns if you discover that your child/young person is not getting the special educational provision specified in Section F of the EHC plan or that the provision is being removed or reduced without the EHC plan being amended.

In the first instance, contact the school or college and speak to your child’s teacher head teacher and SEN Co-ordinator or SEN learning team at the college about your worries.  Following discussions, it may be decided that an Early Review of the EHCP needs to be held, school may wish to invite a Local Authority professional from the SEND Operations Service.

However, you can also write to complain to the LA using  Ipsea Model Letters

Is an EHC Plan a legal document? Which sections are legally binding?

An EHC Plan, like its predecessor the Statement, is a legal document, and the Local Authority must secure the special educational provision specified in the EHC Plan.

If you or your young person are not happy with the finalised EHC Plan and are unable to reach agreement with the local authority, you can appeal against some parts of it to the SEN and Disability Tribunal.

You can appeal against:

  • Part B, which describes the child or young person’s SEN,
  • Part F which specifies the provision necessary to meet each and very need described in Part B
  • or Part I, which names the school or setting the child or young person will attend.
My child’s needs have changed, can I ask for a re-assessment?

You can ask for a re-assessment of your child’s needs. This is helpful if their needs have changed significantly since the EHC plan was first issued, the professional advice used to write the plan needs to be updated, or the provision is no longer meeting needs. 

 The SEND Code of Practice 2015says:

The review process will enable changes to be made to an EHC plan so it remains relevant to the needs of the child or young person and the desired outcomes. There may be occasions when a re-assessment becomes appropriate, particularly when a child or young person’s needs change significantly. (9.186)

Take a look at the information from IPSEA about requesting a re-assessment, including their template letter. Asking for re-assessment of a child of your persons needs

The local authority have not met legal timescales for my child’s EHCP, what can I do?

You may wish to make a complaint if the local authority have failed to provide what they are legally required to do, for example the local authority have not sent a draft or Final EHCP following an assessment, or not completed the Annual Review. 

Take a look at the information from IPSEA, Making a complaint about a local authority including their Model letters

How do I get a personal budget or direct payment?

At the draft stage of the EHCP, you can ask the local authority to consider setting up a personal budget for educational provision for your child or young person, or when the plan is being reviewed.   You can indicate your interest in having a personal budget during the annual review and this request will be included in the annual review paperwork.  You will need to identify the type of provision that is needed, how this provision will make changes for your child/the difference it will make and the outcomes you expect your child to achieve in having this provision. The local authority will then consider the request based on how a personal budget will affect the services already being provided and whether it’s resourceful regarding finances.  All requests are considered on an individual basis.

The local authority will assess if a personal budget is the most effective way to help your child achieve the outcomes. If the request is not approved, you will get a written explanation. There is no right to appeal but you can ask the local authority to review their decision. 

For further information read our Personal Budgets

The College have said my young person needs an Education, Health & Care Plan to start their course. Is this correct?

Colleges have a duty (explained in the  SEND Code of Practice 2015 to ‘use their best endeavours to secure the special educational provision that the young person needs’ and ‘they must fulfil this duty for students with SEN whether or not the students have EHC plans.’

 You can ask the college to apply for High Needs funding. High Needs Funding is money that Further Education colleges or approved Educational Establishments can apply for to help them to support young people.

Will the EHCP continue after college?

The Department for Education  SEND: 19- to 25-year-olds’ entitlement to EHC plans - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) says

 

In line with preparing young people for adulthood, a local authority must not cease an EHC plan simply because a young person is aged 19 or over. Young people with EHC plans may need longer in education or training to achieve their outcomes and make an effective transition into adulthood. However, this position does not mean that there is an automatic entitlement to continued support at age 19 or an expectation that those with an EHC plan should all remain in education until age 25. A local authority may cease a plan for a 19- to 25-year-old if it decides that it is no longer necessary for the EHC plan to be maintained.

and

Students aged 19 to 25 with EHC plans who are continuing in education may have a range of options, including attending:

  • further education
  • training
  • a supported internship
  • an apprenticeship

EHC plans are available for those up to the age of 25 who need one

An EHC plan will cease if:-

  • you are on a higher education course (level 4 or above)
  • you are 18 or over, have left education and don’t want any further learning
  • you are 25 or more 

In line with preparing young people for adulthood, a local authority must not cease an EHCP simply because a young person is aged 19 or over. Young people with EHC plans may need longer in education or training in order to achieve their outcomes and make an effective transition into adulthood. However, this position does not mean that there is an automatic entitlement to continued support at age 19 or an expectation that those with an EHC plan should all remain in education until age 25.

A local authority may cease a plan for a 19- to 25-year-old if it decides that it is no longer necessary for the EHC plan to be maintained. Such circumstances include where the young person no longer requires the special educational provision specified in their EHC plan. In deciding that the special educational provision is no longer required, the local authority must have regard to whether the educational or  training outcomes specified in the plan have been achieved (see the SEND Code of Practice section on Outcomes, paragraphs 9.64 to 9.69).

Information below from the Department for Education:-

 Learning support funding for apprentices with learning difficulties

Employers and providers taking on apprentices aged 19-24 with an Education, Health and Care Plan each receive a payment of £1,000, extending the financial support available for all 16-18 year-olds. Details of this Additional Funding is included in the Additional payments section of the Provider Funding Rules.

Providing supported internships for young people with an EHC plan

Supported internships are a structured, work-based study programme for 16 to 24-year-olds with SEND, who have an education, health and care (EHC) plan.

 

My young person is going to university, will their EHCP continue?

No, EHC plans are only for young people in further education, and will cease when they go into higher education.

 

What happens to the EHCP when my young person leaves education?

An EHC plan is only for young people with special educational needs. Training can be considered an educational need, for example an apprenticeship or internship.

If your child is no longer in further education (or training) or moves onto University, the local authority will likely cease the EHC plan at the next annual review. 

You can read further information on our What happens if the local authority decide to cease the EHCP?

What happens if my child moves to another local authority?

If you plan to move to another local authority area you should contact the ‘old’ and the ’new’ local authorities so the support specified in the EHC plan will be in place. The ‘new’ authority will amend the plan and name the new school or college.

The ‘old’ local authority must transfer the EHC plan on the day of the move, as long as it has had 15 working days notice.

For further information read our information on  Moving to a new local authority with an EHC plan

Will the EHC Plan continue when young person turns 25 years old?

The local authority can keep the EHC plan going until the end of the academic year in which the young person turns 25 years old. 

Support generally stops at the end of the academic year so young people can complete their study (paragraph 9.207 SEND Code of Practice).

To clarify:-

  • If the young person attends college, the LA could keep the EHC plan going until the 31st July after they turn 25 years old.
  • If the young person is an apprentice, the LA could keep the EHC plan going until the apprenticeship training finishes or the day before their 26th birthday if the young person turns 26 years old before it finishes. (If they moved onto a level 4 or above apprenticeship your EHC plan wouldn’t be able to cover this though).
  • If the young person's education or training isn’t at college and isn’t an apprenticeship, the LA could keep the EHC plan going until the course ends or the day before their 26 birthday if they turn 26 before it ends.